I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Minutes of Baord Meeting (s) 9-16-2008

I am posting these minutes to expedite information dissemination. Much more complete and detailed minutes will be posted in 4-6 weeks on the school district’s website. In the mean time, these minutes are what I feel were the big “takeaways”, a macro look at my impression of the meeting. These are condensed, abbreviated, shortened, and to the point.

All Board Members present.

Norm Ross, Deputy Superintendent, sat in for Jim Paul

Note: Prior to regular monthly school board meeting, district conducted special board meeting to adopt millage rates and total budget for 2008-2009 beginning at 5:30.

Laura Schaud gave a detailed presentation outlining total budget, millage rates, and comparison to 2007-2008 budget. Total millage rate set at 7.720, same as 2007-2008 millage rate. Both Patty Hightower and I stressed the fact that we, as a board, asked the superintendent and his staff to lower the millage rate to last years level, so that we would not be increasing the tax rate on our local residents. Superintendent complied, and total levied mills remain the same as last year.

No Public speakers chose to address the board on the budget. (Amazing)
Tentative ECSD budget for 2008-2009 set at $638,141,743.18 (16.6 million less than 2007-2008)

Meeting adjourned, 6:05

6:10 regular monthly meeting convened

2 PTA Presentations—given by Cindy Gerhardt

Board adopted the resolution recognizing “September as PTA membership Enrollment Month”

Stellar District Employee Recognition goes to Bus Operator Linda Gionotti.

District recognized by American Cancer Society for raising more than $140,000.00 towards a cure for cancer via relay for life.

Multiple district schools honored for achieving “5-Star Status”

Public Forum:
7 Speakers total
1 Speaker wants school start time issue to be revisited—wants old start times reinstated.
3 Speakers extremely upset, vehemently opposed to closure of Carver/Century K-8 school.
2 Speakers want the district to treat 15 year Escambia County teachers the same way they treat 15 year teachers that transfer into the district, want the steps to be rolled.
1 Speaker feels that the Education Support Employees need to be treated more fairly with respect to their pay.

3 July Meeting Minutes Approved, 3 August meeting minutes approved

(Rule adoptions: none)

Permission to advertise rules for adoption:

1. Revisions to School District Chapter 1-Administration of the District School System, approved for advertisement 5-0
2. Revisions to School District Chapter 2-Human Resource Services
approved for advertisement 5-0

Entire Consent Agenda Approved.

All Curriculum items approved
All Finance items approved
All Purchasing items approved

All Operations items approved

(Entire Consent Agenda was meticulously covered and discussed at length during a thorough, tedious, marathon 6 hour board workshop held during the morning of 9/11/2008)
Board voted to accept the superintendent’s recommendation regarding the following:

No administrative appointments submitted
14 Student recommendations submitted by the Superintendent and accepted by board.

1 Student recommended for expulsion by Superintendent for marijuana possession. Hearing was held, hearing officer sided with student (no credible testimony given by district or school based staff), board adopted finding of hearing officer—no action taken against student (note: 2 school deans and 1 school resource officer with firsthand knowledge of case failed to show up for hearing)??

13 students expelled--- 8 for drug possession, 2 for sexual misconduct, 1 for possession of a weapon (knife) 1 for battery on a peer, and 1 for disruptive behavior.
2 Employees terminated
1 Employee suspended without pay for (1) day
1 Employee administratively reassigned with pay

*1 superintendent recommendation rejected (suspension of employee without pay for ten days, plus reduction of one step on salary scale)

*I pulled this item because based upon what I have been told the punishment seemed to be excessive for the alleged infraction. This item was added to tonight's agenda at 3:30. I attempted to contact the superintendent for further clarification on what I felt was an excessive punishment--I was unable to reach the superintendent on his cell phone. Not having (apparently) all of the information on this employee, I made a motion that we amend the superintendent’s recommendation such that the employee would be suspended without pay for the 10 days, but that his salary level not be cut. My motion was seconded by Gerald Boone, however Mr. Boone stated his staff-provided backup information was contradictory and he wished to have more time and information on the issue prior to making a vote. My motion was subsequently not voted on and a motion was made by Claudia Brown-Curry, seconded by Gerald Boone, and approved 5-0 by entire board, to postpone action on this employee recommendation until a special meeting to be held Thursday, Sept. 25th. The Board also requested that more information be provided by the superintendent and staff to justify the recommended punishment prior to the special meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7:28.

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